Yusof bin Ishak bigraphy, stories - First President of Singapore

Yusof bin Ishak : biography

12 August 1910 - 23 November 1970

Yusof bin Ishak (Jawi: يوسف بن اسحاق ; ; 12 August 1910 – 23 November 1970) was the first President of Singapore, serving from 1965 to 1970. His portrait appears on the Singapore Portrait Series currency notes introduced in 1999.


Awards and Honours

  • Darjah Utama Temasek, 1st Class
  • Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (Malaysia)
  • Darjah Kerabat Mahkota Brunei, 1st Class

Early life

Born on 12 August 1910 in Trong, Taiping, Perak Darul Ridzuan, which was then part of the Federated Malay States (present day Malaysia), Yusof was the descendant of prominent Sumatran Malay Datuk Jannatun who migrated to Penang in 1759.

Yusof was of Minangkabau descent from his father's side while his mother was a Malay from the Langkat region in Indonesia. His brother, Aziz Ishak, was a Malayan journalist and freedom fighter.

He received his primary education at Victoria Bridge School (now known as Victoria School),Victoria Bridge School is the previous name of Victoria School which only offered primary school classes at the time. Victoria School is now a secondary school. and secondary education at Raffles Institution.

At Raffles, he joined the Singapore National Cadet Corps. He was commissioned as the first ever cadet officer in the Corps.


Yusof was well known both as a journalist and the founder of the Malay newspaper Utusan Melayu prior to becoming head of state of Singapore. He was married to Noor Aishah.

He first served as Yang di-Pertuan Negara (head of state) between 1959 and 1965, remaining in office during the time that Singapore was part of the Federation of Malaysia between 1963 and 1965. Following Singapore's departure from Malaysia in 1965, he served as the first President of the Republic until his death in 1970.

Yusof is buried at Kranji State Cemetery.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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